Couto, F.T.; Salgado, R.; Guiomar, N. Forest Fires in Madeira Island and the Fire Weather Created by Orographic Effects. Atmosphere 2021, 12,827. https://doi.org/10.3390/
Understanding the effects of weather and topography on fire spread in specific contexts, such as oceanic islands, is critical for supporting fire prevention and suppression strategies. In this study, we analyse the atmospheric conditions associated with historical forest fires that have occurred over complex terrain in Madeira Island, Portugal. The atmospheric Meso-NH model was used to identify the mesoscale environment during three forest fires events. The model was configured into two nested horizontal domains, the outer domain at 2.5 km resolution and the inner domain at 500 m. The paper brings a comprehensive analysis on the factors favouring the evolution of significant large fires occurring in Madeira Island in August 2010, July 2012 and August 2016. These fire events were selected because they are characterized by their large size (between 324.99 ha and 7691.67 ha) that expanded in a short-time period, threatening people and property in the wildland-urban interfaces. The study highlights that local terrain produce orographic effects that enhance the fire danger over the southern slope during typical summer atmospheric conditions.